Frequently Asked Questions

How much electricity does a typical nuclear power plant generate?

In  2012, the "average" nuclear power plant in the United States generated about 11.8 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh). There were 65 nuclear power plants with 104 operating nuclear reactors that generated a total of  769 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), or 19% of the nation's electricity.

Thirty-six of those plants have two or more reactors. The Palo Verde plant in Arizona has three reactors with the largest combined generating capacity1 of about 3,937 megawatts (MW). Fort Calhoun in Nebraska had the smallest capacity with a single reactor at 502 megawatts (MW).

The average plant capacity factor was about 86% in 2012.

1Summer capacity

Learn more:

U.S. Nuclear Generation and Generating Capacity (Information and data on nuclear power reactors Generation: by State and Reactor)

Monthly Energy Review, Historical monthly data on electricity generation from nuclear energy

Energy Explained: Use of Nuclear Power and Nuclear Power Plants Basics

Last updated: Decmeber 3, 2013


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